Thirty years ago to the day, a genocide against innocent Sikhs in India started. Thirty years ago, also to the day, top ruling Congress Party politicians led gangs of goons who went about torching Sikh homes in several Delhi localities. It was also then Sikhs, young and old, who were butchered – shot, slit and tires flung around their necks and set ablaze. It was then that the police and administration looked the other way, and even assisted the killers, identifying Sikh households to target. Around 3,500 Sikhs died in Delhi alone and several hundreds others in other parts of India.
All this because a “tree” called Indira Gandhi had “fallen” and her son, Rajeev had said the “earth has to shake when a large tree falls.” But then, Mrs Gandhi was killed by her Sikh bodyguards for having desecrated the Golden Temple, Sikhs’ holiest shrine – which led to thousands of Sikhs being massacred by the Indian Army!”Revenge” was the call and revenge it was. All those who died were innocents, among them even children. One young girl was shot by policemen as she rushed to a police station complaining her house was under attack.
All these cases have been well-documented, countless testimonies have been recorded, innumerable videos are on YouTube, and several areas of Delhi are still haunted by the developments. Most widows have died, many are old and infirm, surviving male members in what’s left of families are on cheap drugs, completely useless to themselves and to the society they live in. These living ghosts – zombies – are everywhere, one just has to go in the affected areas.
And, yet, 30 years later, not a single person has been convicted. Several have died, many of them have been ministers and powerful politicians. Their cases are still in trial courts so it is anybody’s guess when they will face justice, if ever at all.
I just wish India’s new government takes the bull by the horns and moves towards delivering justice! It’s about time that happens.
A compensation has been announced but that’s not what victims’ next of kin want. They want closure of some sort. Will they get it? Prime Minister Modi has made a start. he has said the incidents in 1984 were a stab in India’s back. He has to do much more.
True, India’s Sikhs are not vote banks. They can safely be ignored and it will not make a difference to any politician or political party. But look at the contributions and sacrifices of this lion of a community and any one would want them to get justice – a closure. because that is the only thing they want.
The dead cannot be brought back but at least the pain of those dying a slow death could be eased!
Excerpts from a book, I Accuse, by Jarnail Singh, can be found here. This book is a very well-researched work by this journalist who went around talking to victims and their families. The book offers a heart-rending account of those days from November 1 to 3, 1984.